Although violence draws its strength from oppression, the same oppression is also the starting point of rebellion. The only way to stop a person, who is violent, to ensure the superiority of the victim over the other person; Again, which is done by resorting to violence. World Health Organization (WHO) violence; It is defined as “intentionally using physical pressure or force, threatening or acting against oneself, another person, a group or society, causing injury, death, psychological harm, developmental disability or deprivation or increasing the possibility of these situations” (Polat,2021). Fight Club is a revolt by many people who have been suppressed and crushed by the system over time, thanks to a man suffering from insomnia. Many emotions suppressed by the system in individuals emerge as “violence” with Fight Club. Individuals who realize that they are stuck under the system define wealth as “having nothing to lose”. Individuals who do not have awareness are guided through the rules of society, knowingly or unknowingly. In a capitalist world, this manipulation also breeds commodity fetishism in individuals. Individuals who come out of the influence of commodity fetishism imagine in society in a humane way more prone to violence. In this article, what the system brings in Fight Club will be evaluated in the context of the concept of violence and the reflection of commodity fetishism on the characters.
Commodity fetishism designates the material structural elements of social relations within the capitalist market system. “Once commodity production has become widespread, the values of the various commodities begin to appear as if it is an inherent quality of these commodities, and the social character of value becomes indistinguishable.” (A concept: commodity fetishism) Mark defines commodity fetishism in these words: “…and ultimately the interrelationships in which the social character of their labor manifests itself in the producers take the form of a social relation between the products.” (Marx, 1840) The transformation of reciprocal relations into a form of relation between products created “standardization” and at the same time caused people to “alienate themselves”. An example of stereotyping is the narrator’s likening himself to a penguin. Said by these words: “Chloe took us into a cave, and there we encountered the animal that gave us strength. Mine was a penguin” (Palahniuk 20). Individuals: Not being able to realize that they are keeping up with the order, continuing to do what the system imposes involuntarily, taking things that they do not need at all cause the individuals to distance themselves from their own self and desires. This situation causes the individuals to “alienate themselves”. People strive for their needs in order to have anything. The narrator is overwhelmed by the monotonous business life and the robot-like attitude of his boss. He realized that he had turned into a “white-collar” enslaved by modern society and, like the rest of the society, he had assumed a personality that wanted to have products that he did not need, imposed through advertisements. Like penguins, no one is any different from anyone else. In short, people who keep up with the capitalist order do not realize that they have turned into a penguin.
People, who turn into penguins day by day, are increasingly under the influence of capitalism. They let things control themselves, and that’s how the brand obsession begins. In the work, this material and object obsession is mentioned with the following words: “…My Vild standing watch… My Klipsk bookshelves… My Hemlig hat boxes… I gave my life to have all of these… You buy furniture, you tell yourself, this is the last sofa I will ever need in my life… then the crockery you are looking for… Then the bed of your dreams. Curtains. Carpets. Then you get stuck in your nice home. What you once owned becomes yours now.” (Palahniuk 46-47).
In time, a white-collar narrator who realizes that he is being manipulated by objects and commercials, begins to see a rebellion that comes with awareness. In other words, Tyler Durden begins to form. The first indication of rebellion is that, although the narrator is unaware, Tyler Durden burns down his own house to oppose the consumer society. This is followed by the desire for love and sexuality for Marla. The suppression of someone who reads “Ikea” magazines instead of porn magazines in their own bathroom for years… Loving Marla is a rebellion for Tyler Durden, passion, sexuality and the desire to prove his masculinity… “There is a kind of triangle situation between us. I want Tyler. Marla wants me. I don’t want Marla, and Tyler doesn’t want me either. It’s not about love, it’s about valuing, it’s about ownership.” (Palahniuk 15), said by the narrator in the book. As it is stated in the quote, these feeling are just about ownership and valuing. The feeling of love and sexuality for Marla is followed by the establishment of the “Fight Club”. The main difference that distinguishes Fight Club from other resistances is that violence is not used as a tool. In Fight Club, members accept that violence is directed against their own body. Masochist Members begin to feel happy not with the harm they inflict on the other party, but with the damage their own body has inflicted. Through the pain they feel in their bodies, they believe that they are freed from the pressure that the consumer society has established in their minds.
Although Fight Club reigned as an environment where people who were suppressed under the capitalist system and overwhelmed by the effects of commodity fetishism came together and injured themselves, it was not enough to suppress the feeling of rebellion in people, on the contrary, it triggered it even more. The sentence which is mentioned by the narrator in the book is a great example of this: “And what happens after that doesn’t happen in words. I want to pollute all the French beaches that I will never see.” (Palahniuk 213). At this point, the “Project Mayhem” stepped in, and Fight Club was organized with the desire to destroy all civilization.
The starting point of violence in Fight Club; In consumer capitalism, it is the individual’s awareness of his commodity fetishist feelings and that he is keeping up with the system unconditionally. Individuals try to solve this crisis of existence through violence, believing that they have saved their bodies from being a function and extension of society, thanks to the wounds they received in the fights. In short, Fight Club is a revolt of individuals who have become “worthless” in an increasingly “devalued” world, against the system that devalues themselves. The manifestation of commodity fetishist elements has occurred as a result of the imposition of the system. After the attachment to things disappeared, individuals became “liberated” and rebellion began.
Fight Club- 2. (2021, March 15). Amanja Reads Too Much: https://amanjareads.com/2020/04/03/fight-club-2-graphic-novel-review-with-spoilers/ adresinden alındı
Thompson, B. (2016, March 31). Chuck Palahniuk Destroyed His Legacy With Fight Club 2 (His Best Work In Years). Paste.com: https://www.pastemagazine.com/comics/chuck-palahniuk/chuck-palahniuk-destroyed-his-legacy-with-fight-cl/ adresinden alındı